has been following the news about our growing obesity challenges in the United States. The latest information we’ve found is certainly not a good thing.

It appears that there is a direct connection between the rise in obesity and the rise in arthritis in our population – and especially with osteoarthritis which is defined as a chronic degeneration of cartilage in joints like the knees and hips.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has been looking closely at the relationship between obesity, diabetes and arthritis. They state that there is definitely a link. In the obese population in the U.S., just about one third also have arthritis. The number of hip and joint replacement surgeries have more than doubled between 2000 and 2010.

Or course, it is necessary to keep in mind that we have a large segment of the U.S. population that is aging. Baby Boomers are the largest generation on record and this is the generation that is moving into the position of the oldest generation in the U.S. So that would explain some of the increase. There is actual research, however, that equates about 20% of the increase in these surgeries to the obesity epidemic.

The good news about the research is that obesity is a factor in joint problems that we actually have control over. If we were to get the obesity problem in check, we would lower the number of replacement surgeries occurring here in America. The bad news, however, is that once the joint damage is done … it’s done. It isn’t reversible.

And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. The heavier a person is, the more stress is placed on the bone structure. That can wear away cartilage in joints. And if a person is even mildly active that stress places additional weight on joints.

It has been found that exercise can help people with these specific problems. But they have to be careful. High-impact exercise is basically a no-go for obese folks with joint problems. It can exacerbate the problems and possibly cause injury. Biking and swimming are better options for people but those exercises must be accompanied by dietary changes. firmly believes that the more information we have regarding the obesity problems in our country, the better equipped we will be to deal with them. It’s incredibly important that we all remain educated, not only about how this has happened to us, but what we can do to improve the life situations of so many of our citizens.

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